DOH opens acute psychiatric unit in Batangas

The Department of Health (DOH) Calabarzon has opened the Acute Psychiatric Unit (APU) at the Batangas Medical Center (BatMC) in time for National Mental Health Week.

DOH Calabarzon said in a press statement on Wednesday, October 7, that the inauguration of the APU will complement its efforts to reach out to persons with mental disorders.

The construction of the APU building was  funded under the DOH Facility Enhancement Program (HFEP). The 10-bed unit will provide treatment to more severely ill mental health patients, for a duration of less than 30 days. 

Patients required to have long-term care will be transferred to another facility with a higher level of care, said DOH Calabarzon.

“The establishment of the APU in Calabarzon is the realization of DOH's vision for BatMC to be a psychiatric center in the region,” said Calabarzon health chief Eduardo Janairo.

Janairo noted the importance of spotting the signs of mental health problems since “most persons with mental disorders don’t seek medical help.”

“Kadalasan sa ating pamilya o kamag-anak ay nagkakaroon tayo ng pakiramdam na ‘parang may hindi tama’ sa kanilang pag-uugali at pag-iisip (We often have a feeing that ‘something seems to be off’ in a family member’s or relative’s attitude or mental state), we must be able to recognize these signs before it becomes full blown,” he added.

Janairo said looking after mental health should start in childhood. “They must grow up with the feeling of safety and security and protected from any harm,” he said.

DOH Calabarzon also cited other efforts of the regional health office to reach out to persons with mental disorders, such as its Kapit-Bisig Helpline  from 10 am to 12 pm, and 1 pm to 3 pm every Tuesdays and Thursdays, for people who are stressed due to the COVID-19 pandemic or for other mental health concerns.

The National Center for Mental Health also has crisis hotlines for people who need help. The NCMH had earlier noted a surge in calls during the pandemic. (READ: Over 5,000 Filipinos flood national mental health hotlines during pandemic) –